Tennis player Rafael Nadal recorded his 19th major title in the U.S. Open, bring-
ing him closer to Federer’s record.
An interesting summer of tennis ended last weekend as Daniil Medvedev (#5) conceded his first major victory to Rafael Nadal (#2) in a hard-fought five set match at the U.S. Open in New York City. The two found themselves on the big stage through a grueling two-week battle of competition. Federer gave up his shot at recording his 21st major title by losing to Dimitriov in the quarter finals. This left a window of opportunity for Rafa (with 18 majors) to further close their gap in titles. With a chance to take another step closer to Federer’s record, Rafa was assumed to destroy his competition. However, the Russian Daniil Medvedev was committed to making sure Rafa truly earned his 19th title.
Nadal was favored in Las Vegas last Sunday by a generous seven games against his opponent, but Medvedev didn’t roll over the same way bettors expected. After losing the first two sets, 5-7 and 3-6, Medvedev adapted and fought his way through the next 32 games with an unbelievable total of 15 aces and 164 points earned. Medvedev ultimately won the following two sets (7-5) (6-4) with a roaring crowd at his back and the dream of storybook-like redemption at his forefront. But the Spaniard put that dream to bed in the final set and rose to glory with a 4-6 win. Rafa admitted to Mary Carillo in his post-match interview that even he was unsure who would reign victorious in their near five-hour saga.
Nadal said, “Anything could happen at the end … I was dominating the match until the end of the third set,” and by his admission, “I was nervous and tired.”
These feelings became visually apparent to the audience as Rafa began making uncharacteristic mistakes, including five double faults (twice his match average) and 46 unforced errors.
Nadal ultimately overcame these feelings and celebrated his 19th major title, leaving him one behind the Swiss record holder Roger Federer. The closing ceremony was full of emotion as Rafa, Medvedev and tennis fans from around the world stood side by side to watch the 15-year montage recounting all of Rafa’s 19 Major titles. He shed tears of joy while thanking the crowd.
“Congratulations for everything … well done to you,” Rafa told his opponent, assuring him that his future would be bright and that this would not be his last chance at the U.S. Open.
Medvedev returned with kind words telling Nadal, “100 million kids watch you play and want to play tennis, and it is amazing for our sport. Thank you.”
Medvedev went on to tell the crowd, “It is because of you and your energy I was here in the final.”
The two men stood there one relishing in victory and the other celebrating the opportunity to compete with one of tennis’s greatest players of all time.